Suburban man denied bond in Riverside Red Bull theft

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Melvin Harris, 53, was denied bond Friday after he was accused of stealing 23 cans of Red Bull in Riverside Wednesday morning.

A suburban man was denied bond Friday after he was accused of stealing 23 cans of Red Bull in southwest suburban Riverside Wednesday morning.

Melvin Harris, 53, told police that he was on his way to a temporary employment agency in Summit when he stopped just before 8 a.m. at the Amstar Service Station at 3346 South Harlem in Riverside, according to a statement from Riverside Police. Harris stuffed 23 cans of Red Bull, worth $63, into his winter jacket and ran away to a car waiting in the parking lot.

He and the driver continued on to Summit where they sold the Red Bull to other residents, according to police. The driver was not charged because he did not participate in the actual theft.

Harris used the money to buy gas for his car in Chicago before returning to a Summit day labor site, the statement said. He was denied a job because he was late.

Police identified the vehicle Harris used with the help of a witness who and video surveillance, police said. He was arrested Thursday after police stopped a matching vehicle where he was a passenger in the 700 block of South 6th Avenue in Maywood.

Harris was charged with one count of felony retail theft, police said. The retail theft was upgraded to a felony offense because of Harris’ 48 prior arrests, including 43 for theft. Officials said Harris had several aliases, four false birth dates, and two false social security numbers.

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